AIA St. Louis Opens Resource Center to Connect Designers with Materials, Reps

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By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE

With materials libraries dwindling in design firm offices across the St. Louis metro area, a local chapter of The American Institute of Architects is opening the doors on an all-new resource to supply designers with a plethora of materials and space to plan and interact with those who rep them.

A dedicated team of eight at AIA St. Louis has been working for three years to build out and supply the Resource Center, located at 911 Washington Avenue downtown, adjacent to the AIA’s existing bookstore and offices. AIA St. Louis 2019 Board President Lucy Williams, herself a licensed architect and firm owner, has helped spearhead the effort.

“Developing a shared resource library and learning collective has been at the forefront of AIA St. Louis’ mission for a while,” Williams said. “After the Great Recession, we noticed that the once expansive materials libraries housed in architectural and interiors firms across the city were waning. I’ve been practicing for 18 years and have seen these libraries slowly disappear as firms seek to maximize use of their office space. Architects and contractors are visual people. We need to see and feel materials to best evaluate whether to specify them. This new resource is our chapter’s means of bringing the different disciplines together in one place where we can earn our learning units, interact with materials reps and with each other and have a place to go to find interior and exterior finishes, landscaping materials samples, up-to-date materials brochures and more.”

The 1,800-square-foot center will be managed full-time by David Charles, according to AIA St. Louis Executive Director Michelle Swatek, and will be open from 9am-4pm Monday through Friday. While the center is also open to non-AIA St. Louis members, members will have additional access to the space.

Stocking of materials is taking place. The Resource Center is celebrating an open house on Tuesday, Oct. 29th from 5-8 p.m.

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